Posts Tagged ‘frittata’


The lovely green spears were in Realmont market today at reasonable prices.

I bought a kilo of straight ones for Friday dinner with our guests, arriving from the USA.

A second of less than perfect (less expensive too) specimens–asperges tordues (twisted)–to make this very simple frittata for lunch.

I have five eggs left in the pantry and a red onion. Add some cheese and seasoning–and there you have the ingredients!

Something different to do with this vegetable with a relatively short-lived season and a use for the cheaper spears with the less than perfect appearance.


  • 450gms/80z asparagus spears–prepared weight–ie tough ends removed and sliced on the diagonal into smallish pieces
  • 1 red onion–peeled and halved and sliced
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 5 eggs–beaten


  • 2oz grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Serves 2 to 4 people 

Soften the onion in the olive oil until it begins to caramelize a little–10 to 15 minutes

Add the asparagus pieces and mix in adding some salt and a twist or two of pepper.


Cook the mix over a gentle heat until the asparagus begins to soften. I like them to retain a little bite–about 10 minutes.

Let this cool.

Then ease into the beaten egg mix.


Fold in the cheese and check the seasoning.


Heat a tablespoon of oil in a 10 inch pan to hot–and fold in the egg mix and spread it evenly.


Immediately turn the heat down to the lowest and cook for 30 minutes.

There should be just a small pool of liquid left on top.

Finish it under a grill for 30 seconds.



Be careful taking the pan out of the oven–it is very hot, as I was reminded when the pan touched the side of my hand by accident–ouch!

Loosen the frittata round the edges of the pan with a fish slice or spatula and ease it out onto a favorite platter.



“High on the DING scale!” said Meredith.







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The smokiness here comes from smoked paprika.


It makes for a delightfully different take on a traditionally Italian way with eggs.


This is adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s richer version. I have substituted coconut milk for the cream and lessened the amount of cheese.

I cooked it long and slow on top of the stove and managed to brown the top with a manoevre described below…still no oven or grill!

1 small cauliflower (or half a big one)

6 eggs

4 tbsp coconut milk*

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

75 gm/2.5 oz grated parmesan +25gm/1oz more for the topping

2 tsp smoked paprika

Steam the separated cauliflower florets to just tender and set aside.

In a bowl whisk together the coconut milk, the paprika and the mustard.

Add the eggs and carefully whisk them in.

Mix in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.


Heat the olive oil in a 26 cm (or 10 inch) frying pan.  Brown the cauliflower in one layer on one side for a couple of minutes (no need to turn them to brown them completely).


Pour the eggy mix over the cauliflower–shake the pan a little to get an even distribution of cauliflower.


Cook the frittata on the lowest possible heat, using a heat diffuser if you have one, until there is just a small pool of liquid left on the surface.

To brown, simply slide the pan under the grill for a minute.

With no oven or grill available, I had to be bold!

I laid a flat plate, roughly the circumference of the pan, on top of the frittata then with my left hand on the back of the plate and holding the pan’s handle with my right hand I flipped the whole thing over, then slid the frittata back into the pan to briefly brown the top.


The challenge made me feel good–but I ran the risk of it all ending up on the floor!

I made the fennel and orange salad from my new cookbook, Healthy Eating for Life, to contrast  the blousy smokiness of the frittata.


*The difference between coconut milk/cream and cream of coconut is fully explained here: 



It looks like milk, it is NOT sweetened and it does NOT taste of coconut!

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A two-in-one recipe!


This pretty frittata (Italian omelette) requires a good dollop of peperonata turned into the egg mixture.

Frittatas are cooked SLOW SLOW (omelettes are cooked FAST).

Slow–to stop them drying out.

After a shy start, tomatoes are everywhere at the moment and local peppers are ripening, turning from green to red and yellow.


Time for one of my favourite CLASSICS of Italian summer vegetarian cooking!

Peperonata–a  sauce made from fresh, ripe tomatoes, red and yellow sweet peppers, onion and garlic.

Serve it on a piece of toast as a snack with a teaspoon of tapinade on top; or as a vegetable accompaniment; or reheated with a poached egg in the middle.


If you pour a little olive oil over the surface of any left-over sauce (should you have any!) in a plastic storage box, it will stay fresh longer.

First the peperonata:  (This recipe comes from my next cookbook, Healthy Eating for Life, coming out in January 2014).

750gms/1.5 lbs red and yellow peppers (or just red if you can’t find yellow)–seeded and sliced in strips

1 tbsp olive oil

350 gms/12 oz ripe tomatoes–peeled and chopped (peel by dropping them in a bowl of boiling water for a moment, then the skins comes off easily)

1 medium onion–sliced thinly

2 cloves of garlic–sliced

bay leaves

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a medium pan you can cover.
  • Add the onion and soften it for five minutes; then add the sliced garlic–turning it in the onion and oil and cook for a couple of more minutes.
  • Add the pepper slices and the bay leaves, turning these over in the mixture.


  • Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes to soften the peppers, turning them a couple of times.
  • Add the tomatoes, some salt and pepper, mix them in and cover the pan again–let this cook gently for 20 minutes.


  • If the mix looks too liquid, cook it another 5 minutes or so uncovered.
  • Add the teaspoon of balsamic and mix in well.

Now the Frittata

6 eggs

4 tbsp peperonata sauce

salt and pepper

1 heaped tbsp parmesan cheese–grated

Break the eggs into large bowl.

Whisk them together.

Fold in the peperonata and the parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and pepper.

Turn everything over so the sauce is distributed evenly in the egg mix.


Heat the oil in a small frying pan (8.5″/22cm).

When it is hot pour in the frittata mix.


Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. A heat disperser (flame tamer) is a good idea.

It will take about 25 minutes–but keep a watch.

When only a small puddle of egg mix remains uncooked, slide the pan under a hot grill for a minute to finish off.IMG_8884

Using a spatula or fish slice…


ease the frittata carefully from the pan and slide it onto a serving plate.


Serves four as a starter…


…or two for lunch.


All that was left!

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Something to do on a slow day.

Today for example!

Up ’til late watching the Olympic closing ceremony last night–lazy morning catching up on life with house guests–sunny but mild outside–prospect of more talk and lunch under the fig tree–slices of fritatta with a green salad and a plate of brilliant red tomatoes, sliced, with olive oil and torn up basil leaves, setting us all up nicely for an afternoon siesta.

Patience is the extra ingredient that makes the difference between dry and moist frittatas.

In this case patience to melt the sliced onion slowly and not to rush the cooking of the omelette.

A simple classic frittata from one of my favorite old cookbooks: Marcella Hazan’s 2nd Classic Italian Cookbook.

6 tblsps olive oil

450gms/1lb red onions–sliced thin

5 eggs

50gms/2oz parmesan–freshly grated is best

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion.
  • Sauté over a low heat until the onion starts to caramelise and that pleasing scent wafts over the kitchen.

  • Turn off the heat and prop up the pan at an angle to allow some of the oil to drain off.

  • Choose a 10″/26 cm pan that goes under a grill to make the omelette.
  • Spoon out the drained oil (probably about 2 spoonfuls) into the pan.
  • Whisk the eggs together in a bowl.
  • Add the cooled down onion and parmesan to the egg mix.

  • Mix and season well.

  • Heat the saved oil in the pan–(2 tablespoons is what you need to cook the omelette, so add a little extra if there’s not enough of the saved.)
  • Add the eggs and spread the mix out evenly in the pan.
  • Turn the heat to the lowest (use a heat diffuser or two if you need to) and cook for about half-an-hour.
  • Heat the oven grill to hot.
  • When there is just a pool of loose egg mix left on top, place the pan under the grill for about a minute.
  • The top should be lightly colored.
  • Ease a spatula under and round the omelette and slide it on to a serving plate.
  • Slice as needed.

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This has been on the menu for years.

The combinations in this classic Italian omelette are Marcella Hazan’s and depend on slow cooking in the first and third stages.

I tried doing it with three pans this time–don’t tell Meredith!

She thinks I use more pans than any cook in the history of the world.

It made life easier and reduced the cooking time a little in the second stage.

It’s a good dish for company that can be cooked beforehand and served tepid.

for 4 or more

3 onions–sliced thin in a food processor

4 tablespoons of olive oil

3 medium courgettes/zucchini–sliced thin in the processor

salt and pepper

5 large eggs

50gms/2oz grated parmesan

Stage 1

  • Heat the oil in a medium pan (29cm/11.5″) and add the sliced onions.
  • Turn them over in the oil and cook on a low heat until they color nicely.
Stage 2
  • Transfer them to the larger pan (if using)–33cm/13″–and add the sliced cougettes/zucchini and a pinch of salt.
  • Turn the mixture over thoroughly and cook over a medium heat until the courgettes are soft.
Stage 3
  • Push the mixture to the handle side of the pan and slip something under it to prop it up at a slight angle.
  • Leave it to cool for 10 minutes or so, allowing some of the oil to separate from the courgette mix and settle at the bottom of the pan, making the frittata less greasy.
Stage 4
  • Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together.
  • Add the cooled down courgette and onion mixture and integrate it with the eggs and season.
  • Fold in the parmesan cheese.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in the third pan (26cm/10″)–to avoid the mixture sticking–and pour in the mixture.
  • Cook this over the lowest possible heat for about 30 minutes–until there only a small puddle of  the mixture left on top.
  • Heat the grill and slip the pan under it for a minute or so lightly browning the top of the frittata.

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“Just when you thought you’d had enough green beans for a while…” Meredith sighed at lunchtime, as she bit into a piece of this green and yellow discus–a frittata with green beans.

Discus-like thing

Frittata is an Italian omelette–made the opposite way to a French omelette.

I’ve been guided in their making by the incomparable Marcella Hazan–the queen of Italian home cooking.

The “trick” is in the time it takes.

It’s cooked over the lowest heat, for about 15 minutes–a French omelette over the highest heat, for probably less than a minute!

The French version is fluffy–the Italian firm, but not dry; more like a pastry-less quiche–served in slices.

What they have in common, apart from eggs, is that you can fill them–frittatas or omelettes–with pretty much what you fancy.

In this version, green beans and onion:

1 onion–peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 oz/250 gms green beans–cooked to tender, drained, and plunged into a bowl of cold water, then patted dry and cut into short lengths, ready to go into the frittatta mix

2 0z/50 gms parmesan cheese–grated

6 eggs

salt and pepper

a thumb-size knob of butter and a little more olive oil

  • Sauté the onion in the olive oil until it colours nicely–set aside to cool.
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk them lightly to combine the yolk and the white.
  • Whisk in the grated cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the beans and the onions to the bowl and mix them in.
  • Heat the butter and the extra oil in a medium sauté pan [10 inch/26 cm] to hot.
  • Fold in the egg mixture and turn the heat down to the lowest available–even use a heat diffuser too if you have one [the object being to keep the frittata moist through slow cooking].
  • Cook for about fifteen minutes until there is just a little lake of liquid left on top.
  • Heat the grill to hot and place the pan under it for a couple of minutes, just to firm it up.

“Great finish to the bean season,” acknowledged Meredith, after helping herself to a second slice….

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